FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Update: Tommy Morris, Jr., a prior and persistent offender, has been charged by the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office with second-degree murder, attempt to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
The male pedestrian involved in the incident at Price Cutter has been located and interviewed. He is uninjured.
These charges are merely accusations, and Morris is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The Springfield Police Department's investigation is ongoing.
On April 17, 2018 Springfield police officers observed a vehicle speed through the parking lot of Price Cutter at Chestnut and West Bypass at 2:40 p.m., striking a shopping cart and a male pushing the cart. A pursuit was initiated but officers lost sight of the suspect vehicle in the area of Scenic and Catalpa. (Officers checked for a victim at the Price Cutter but were unable to locate him.) Investigators and patrol officers responded and were actively searching the area when they came upon a crash involving the suspect vehicle at Scenic and Mt. Vernon.
The suspect was operating the vehicle at a high rate of speed northbound on Scenic and ran the red light. The suspect vehicle first struck a 2003 Ford Ranger which was turning southbound onto Scenic from Mt. Vernon, which was occupies by Peggy Gee, 76, and Vincent Gee,62, of Springfield. They were not injured. The suspect vehicle then broadsided a Black 2006 Pontiac G6 operated by Dana Nichole Sowards, 31, of Nixa. Soward’s vehicle then collided with a southbound White 2002 Dodge Neon being operated by Ben Cole, 29, of Springfield. The suspect vehicle also struck a 1986 Ford F150 being operated by Jay Humphries, 47, of Seligman, which was stopped in the southbound lanes. Cole and Humphries were not injured in the crash.
The suspect driver was identified as Tommy Morris Jr., 54, of Springfield. Morris was transported to the hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was then arrested on an outstanding Probation and Parole Capias Felony Warrant and booked into the Greene County Jail.
Ms. Sowards died at the scene from injuries she received in the crash. Her next of kin have been located and notified. The investigation is ongoing, and impairment may be a factor.
This marks the sixth traffic fatality in Springfield in 2018.
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Media Contact: Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer
Release authorized by: Lt. Stacey Parton